September 20, 2018

21 Guns


His life was 20 guns short of a 21 gun salute...he must have been born under a bad star like when the planets are in an unfortunate alignment, if you believe in that kind of hocus-pocus stuff...when he was born, he wasn’t born crying, it was with clenched fists and a snarl on his face...he always had an attitude but he didn’t have much else...grew up in the dark unfriendly jagged broken glass streets of a city where the bright pretty skyscrapers of downtown that were so close might of well have been on the other side of the moon...far far away on the dark side...even then he thought he was cursed or that the world was somehow plotting against him in some kind of giant conspiracy, all designed to keep him down, knock him down, down to the ground, pounded to the ground, ground up and to be spit upon, spit up and spit out...him against the world and the world was an overwhelming favorite...and if you were betting the over/under on him, you definitely would bet the under...as he grew up, he carried anger around with him like most people carry a wallet, stuffed in his pocket and he was all too quick to pull it out and show the pictures inside of it to anyone who got in his way...pictures of rage, petulance, defiance...in a strange way, he was proud of this...his ‘not taking anything off anybody’ attitude...his record of run-ins with the law was a longplay and a two volume set...he glared too much, he talked too much, he drank too much, he fought too much...he thought too much yet he thought too little...he was long on consternation and short on imagination...he was the poster boy of the angry young man...the chip on his shoulder was more like a mountain range that stretched from the east coast of aggression to the west coast of surliness...everything was an affront to him, his defense was to take offense at anything that came his way, he growled that he never got any lucky breaks like other people did...he always drew the short end of the stick...he strutted around like he was the baddest man on the planet and refused to back down from anyone...intimidation was his calling card...he picked fights like other people pick what to have for lunch...but like they say, no matter how bad you are, there’s always somebody badder than you...and he found that out on one nothing special summer night in the big city where there is a lot of angry young men who had it bad growing up just like him...he managed to get by with this baggage until somebody who indeed was a little badder than him pulled out a .38 special and put a bullet into his anger...and with it, everything else inside of him drained out of him onto a one way street that led to a dead end...everybody ran away and anyone who was asked about it said it was too dark and they didn’t see anything, or that it all happened so fast that they weren’t sure just what did happen...as it were, he lay dead there face down in the street, just short of 21...he never got the chance to evolve from an angry young man into an angry old man of which the world has far too many.